Look Up, CNY! That Orange Dot Next to the Moon is Actually Mars
Earlier this week, we were driving home to New Hartford and saw what looked like a bright light next to the moon. Was it a star? No, as it turns out, it was Mars.
Our forecast is pretty clear in the Utica-Rome region of Central New York for Tuesday, October 6th 2020, which should offer a fantastic view of Mars. Plus, the Red Planet hasn't been this bright in October since 1988. So, look to the skies today for the big payoff.
NASA says Mars will be the closest it's come to us since 2018. The folks at the Weather Network have a great report and video on this phenomenon, and they say proximity between the two planets does occur somewhat frequently:
According to NASA, Mars came even closer to Earth in 2003 - 55.7 million km on August 27 - which was the closest the two planets had been in around 60,000 years. Still, by October 2003, the planets had drawn farther away from one another than they are now.
Are you ready for the rest of the science behind this?
About once every 26 months, Mars and Earth experience a phenomenon called Opposition. That's when the two planets line up so that Mars is on the exact opposite side of Earth from the Sun. In 2020 it occurs on October 13. Also around the the time of Opposition, the two planets come close to one another, as is the case on October 6.
So, happy stars and Mars gazing, Central New York.